Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kilts & Tug-of-War

Our festival weekend continued with Irish Fest in Milwaukee, which is impressively the largest annual celebration of Irish culture and music in the entire world. Kate, Karen, and I made the trip. Always looking for a deal, we decided to attend Catholic mass on the festival grounds to take advantage of the day’s admission promotion--free admission for each person who brought 2 nonperishable food items and entered the grounds prior to the 9:30 a.m. mass. A $15 savings! At least that’s why I attended mass. Perhaps my Catholic friends had other well-intentioned reasons.

Mass was long. I’ve attended mass with Karen a few other times, and it's never felt that bad. Usually I strive to be a patient and supportive friend. But this time I was antsy and bored the entire time, especially when I learned that they were going to give communion to every Catholic in the Marcus Amphitheater! But I felt better when I looked over at Karen at one point and saw her nodding off. At least I wasn’t the only one struggling.

So mass finally ended, and then we walked around the festival grounds to watch several musical and dance performers. Most notable were the adult Glencastle Irish Dancers, particularly the men in kilts, as well as the Tug of War championships. What makes Tug of War so Irish, I’m still not sure. But it was intense and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There was a whole lotta grunting, boot digging, and screaming from coaches.

The festival was fun, but it was very, very hot. The sun was beating down all morning, which made it very uncomfortable to sit and walk around. We ended up leaving after spending only two hours at the festival. From there, we sought cooler air and treats at the mall and Kopp’s Frozen Custard.

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